Mount Olive elections originally scheduled for Nov. 2 have been postponed to March 8, 2022, because of delayed census data required for redistricting.

Anne Risku, Wayne County elections director, said the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the 2020 census and that, as a result, some North Carolina municipalities need more time to redraw local voting districts.

Filing dates for Mount Olive’s election are yet to be determined, depending on when the districts are redrawn, Risku said.

The Mount Olive elections are for mayor, an at-large commissioner seat, and town commissioner seats in Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4. The normal term for each seat is two years.

The incumbents are Mayor Kenneth Talton; Commissioner Steve Wiggins, at-large; Vicky Darden, District 1; Harlie Carmichael, District 2; Barbara Kornegay, District 3; and Dennis Draper, District 4.

The elections for Mount Olive mayor and an at-large commissioner, which do not require redistricting, are automatically postponed along with the rest of the town’s elections unless the town notifies the county elections board by July 19 that it wishes to keep its regularly scheduled at-large elections in 2021.

“We have not yet received a request from the town to hold at-large elections in November 2021,” Risku said. “Under this new law, town of Mount Olive terms will be extended until their successors are elected in 2022.”

Senate Bill 722, which became law on June 28, postponed elections in 35 municipalities to March because of census data delays. Most of the municipalities will have election races March 8, the same date for state and federal primaries. Several will have primaries on March 8 with elections moved to April or May 2022.

The postponement affects municipalities where board members are elected by voters in a district instead of at-large. The legislation directs towns to complete redistricting by Dec. 17.

“This law was passed to give municipalities a little more time to get their data to get their redistricting done,” Risku said.

The filing period for nonpartisan municipal races in several Wayne County towns opened at noon July 2 and continues through July 16.

Candidates interested in appearing on the Nov. 2 ballot can file at the Wayne County Board of Elections, 309 E. Chestnut St., Goldsboro.

The Nov. 2 election includes mayoral seats in Pikeville and Seven Springs, one Seven Springs commissioner seat and one Walnut Creek commissioner seat.

Sanitary district seats on the ballot include Belfast-Patetown Sanitary District, Eastern Wayne Sanitary District, Fork Township Sanitary District, Southeastern Wayne Sanitary District and the Southern Wayne Sanitary District.

Patrick Gannon, public information director for the N.C. State Board of Elections, said that if a municipality provides revised districts by Nov. 17, the filing period for the 2022 elections will begin at noon on Dec. 6 and end at noon Dec. 17.

If an affected municipality cannot adopt a new redistricting plan by Nov. 17, the county board of elections can delay the filing period for that municipality to noon Jan. 3 through noon Jan. 7.

Senate Bill 722 became law without Gov. Roy Cooper’s signature.

“While delays to census data caused by the pandemic necessitate changes to local elections, decisions about local elections like these should involve more open discussion and public input and therefore these changes will become law without my signature,” Cooper said in a statement June 25.